Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I just finished reading Michael Pollan's A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams.
The book recounts Pollan's process of designing and constructing a small one room structure on his rural Connecticut property. But please do not get the wrong impression here. This book is by no means a step by step or one of those painful DIY manuals. Pollan's almost poetic writing explores the complex relationship between the language of landscape, architecture and the human spirit.

Although his approach to site selection, design and construction can be applied to any scale of project his book left me with a deeper appreciation for compact spacial design. Enter in.......

1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces at the V & A
Using the landscape of the Museum as a test site, the V&A invited nineteen architects to submit proposals for structures that examine notions of refuge and retreat. From these nineteen concept submissions, seven were selected for construction at full-scale.

Small spaces such as these can push the boundaries and possibilities of creative practice. A shift in scale towards smaller, bespoke structures encourages a heightened sensitivity to materials, texture and proportion. A renewed clarity emerges, allowing architects a freedom of expression that often struggles to survive in larger building projects.

Terunobu Fujimori
Tokyo, Japan
Beetle’s House

Much of Terunobu Fujimori’s architecture aims to reconfigure our view of the natural landscape around us. Reaching this ‘floating’ teahouse via a ladder, visitors are rewarded with an elevated view of the surrounding galleries. The charred, blackened timber exterior, with its textured and tactile surface, represents an extreme of materiality. The process of burning the wood also acts to preserve the building material, thus increasing the structure’s lifespan.

Rural Studio
Newbern, Alabama, USA

Rural Studio is an architectural education programme dedicated to building affordable housing for poor rural communities in Western Alabama. This noble, utilitarian and extendible shed is constructed entirely from forest thinnings. ‘Thinning’ is a forest management practice where small, constricted trees are removed from among larger, more ‘viable’ trees. At a market cost of roughly £2 per metric tonne, thinnings provide a plentiful, renewable, affordable – and underutilised – source of construction material.

Helen & Hard Architects
Stavanger, Norway

This climbing structure excavates our half-forgotten memories of childhood play and exploration. Ten ash trees will be cut along the length of their trunks and planted face to face. The resulting two rows will allow visitors to enter the ‘interior space’ of the trees. The branches will be handwoven and then grafted onto the tree stumps to form a delicate canopy that hangs over a soft play-surface.

Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Oslo and Bodø, Norway

Situated by the V&A’s National Art Library, this freestanding wooden tower re-evaluates the concept of the ‘archive’. Its walls are made up of hundreds of shelves, holding thousands of second-hand books. Accessed via a spiral staircase, each floor includes a secluded reading chamber. Positioned to face inwards, the book spines form an exterior façade of monotonous white, whereas the interior view consists of a rich collage of colours and typographic textures.

Sou Fujimoto Architects
Tokyo, Japan
Inside / Outside Tree

This structure creates a space where notions of ‘inside and outside’ and ‘nature and artificiality’ are inverted and convergent; it explores the crucial duality and ‘in-between-ness’ that defines traditional Japanese architecture. The interior surface of the hollow, transparent tree is continuous with the exterior of the cube form that surrounds it. Thus, one can stand outside the cube and inhabit the same space as the tree’s interior, and vice versa.

This project did not get to actualizing stage but would I have loved to see it built.
Sou Fujimoto Architects
Tokyo, Japan
Silent Gardens

Eleven acrylic boxes contain a series of meticulously reproduced plant and flower forms. Despite their formal geometry, the boxes are liberated from any sense of order and stacked with a spirit of spontaneous logic. The imperceptible thresholds between the boxes would allow the structure to resemble an organically grown elevated garden, resulting in a delicate balance between reality and fiction.

for more info check it out 1:1 V&A

1 comment:

  1. very strange and beautiful